Why Squanchy From Rick And Morty Sounds So Familiar
From the moment of its inception, “Rick and Morty” has thrived on its ability to bring in weird side characters to bounce off of the titular duo. From Dan Harmon’s endlessly deadpan Birdperson to Chris Parnell’s perpetually down-on-his-luck Jerry Smith, the series has no shortage of weirdos and freaks to fill out its science fiction universe. However, one “Rick and Morty” side character who continues to stand out among fans is Squanchy, the cat-like, anthropomorphic brother in arms/drinking buddy of Rick Sanchez.
One of Squanchy’s defining characteristics is his unique voice, which is provided by none other than voice acting legend Tom Kenny. No stranger to the world of animation, Kenny has racked up an impressive IMDb list of credits over the years, across a wide range of genres and franchises. You’ve almost certainly heard his voice prior to his time on “Rick and Morty,” and these are some of his most iconic roles to date.
Tom Kenny voiced Heffer Wolfe on Rocko's Modern Life
One of the earliest voiceover roles that 1990s kids (or just fans of good animation) might recognize Tom Kenny from is his role as Heffer Wolfe in the beloved Nickelodeon series “Rocko’s Modern Life.” The best friend to the titular wallaby, Heffer is a happy-go-lucky steer (thought he’s often called a cow) who was bizarrely raised by wolves. He’s not quite as intelligent as Rocko or Filbert Turtle, but Heffer is the member of the gang who likes to have a good time -– which often gets everyone into trouble. He established several catchphrases over the course of “Rocko’s Modern Life,” but arguably his most well-known of the bunch is “That was a hoot!,” which he yelled in the opening sequence of every episode.
“Rocko’s Modern Life” ran on Nickelodeon between 1993 and 1996, with Kenny’s Heffer playing a consistent role on the show throughout its run. Kenny eventually returned to the role of Heffer over two decades later for the long-awaited “Rocko’s Modern Life” revival titled “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling.” The special debuted in 2019 and depicted a reunion between the entire “Rocko” gang in the 21st century.
He played the carefree Dog on CatDog
Tom Kenny has portrayed a wide range of boisterous and happy animals throughout his career, and playing Heffer Wolfe soon led to a role as Dog in the Nickelodeon series “CatDog.” The series centered its story on a cat and a dog joined in the middle, and the life they have to life as siblings, despite their wildly different personalities. While Cat (Jim Cummings) is prim and proper, Dog is always on the lookout for a good time –- which often gets in the way of Cat’s more complex schemes.
“CatDog” ran on Nickelodeon from 1998 to 2005 and a grand total of 68 episodes and 134 segments. Beyond Kenny’s involvement in the show, the series’ cast included a number of beloved voice actors, including Carlos Alazraqui, Maria Bamford, and Billy West, among others. Like “Rocko’s Modern Life,” the show helped set the stage for some of the even bigger Nickelodeon roles that Kenny would eventually take on.
Tom Kenny lived in a pineapple under the sea in Spongebob Squarepants
Tom Kenny has portrayed numerous characters over the years, but most people will certainly recognize him as the voice of a certain good-hearted undersea creature. In 1999, he premiered as the titular character of a little Nickelodeon show called “SpongeBob SquarePants,” which went on to dominate the kid network’s lineup for years. The series centers on SpongeBob SquarePants, a loveable sea sponge who lives in a fictional undersea town called Bikini Bottom, loves to practice karate, and loves his job as a fry cook at The Krusty Krab.
There is a solid case to be made that, even with all of his other immense accomplishments, SpongeBob SquarePants is the role that Kenny will ultimately be remembered for. The character has become iconic in the years since the show premiered — not only as a popular online meme, but also as one of the best TV characters of the last 20 years, according to Entertainment Weekly. Put that all together, and it’s no wonder that the paths of SpongBob and Kenny have become so intertwined.
Tom Kenny voiced Fry's brother on Futurama
Though Tom Kenny has provided his voice to innumerable films, TV shows, and video games aimed at children, he has also delved into more adult-friendly projects as well. In fact, one of the most prominent examples is his voiceover role as Yancy Fry on “Futurama.” The brother of Billy West’s Philip J. Fry, Yancy is Fry’s longtime rival in the 20th century — who, after the younger Fry going missing on New Year’s Eve 1999, somberly names his newborn son after him. The revelation of this tribute touches Fry, and ultimately helps to retroactively mend his fractured relationship with his sibling
Kenny does not have a substantial amount of screen time as Yancy Fry in “Futurama.” That said, the time he does get in the role is memorable. In fact, “Luck of the Fryrish” — the episode that hones in on the rivalry between Yancy and Fry — was even ranked by IndieWire as the second-saddest episode of “Futurama” ever, topped only by the now-infamous “Jurassic Bark.”
Tom Kenny played The Ice King in Adventure Time
The final Tom Kenny role on this list is one of his most bizarre to date … which is saying something, when we consider the weird roles he has taken on over the years.
The series in question is Cartoon Network’s “Adventure Time.” Kenny played a few parts on this now-beloved series, but the key character that he brings to life is Ice King. Originally the show’s primary antagonist, Ice King is an insane old wizard with the power of cryokinesis, and little memory of his past. One thing that sets Ice King apart from what a viewer might expect initially, though, is the sheer amount of depth and emotional nuance that goes with the character. Though initially portrayed as a bumbling arch-villain, “Adventure Time” slowly but surely peels away the layers of his character, to reveal his tragic backstory as a good man named Simon Petrikov: it turns out that Simon originally used the ice powers given to him by his magical crown to protect a young Marceline, but those powers came at the cost of his sanity.
This in-depth evolution of the character has received widespread praise, with many noting the similarities between Ice King’s depiction and the real-life affliction of Alzheimer’s. It’s no wonder that Ice King proved to be many people’s favorite “Adventure Time” character.